Freestyle Brackets Released for Sixth Day of #KaspEuro2018

By Eric Olanowski

KASPIISK, Russia (May 4) – Freestyle wrestling at the Palace of Sport and Youth continues on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM (local time) with the Russians looking to pick up where the left off after the first day of competition. The host nation's freestyle squad finished day five undefeated and placed all wrestlers into Saturday night’s finals.

Gadshimurad RASHIDOV (RUS), 2017 world finalist, 2016 Olympian Vladimir DUBOV (BUL) and 2015 European Games finalist Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) will be vying for the gold medal at 61kg

At 74kgthe safe bet gold medal winner is between two-time world champion, Frank CHAMIZO (ITA), world and Olympic bronze medalist, Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR), and Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS).

Both Chamizo and Demirtas have multiple European titles under their belts, with Italian having a trio of golds and the Turk with a pair of championships. Meanwhile, Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS), 2017 world runner-up has never competed in a European Championship. 

The must-watch match-up of the morning session is going to be Frank Chamizo and Khetik Tsabolov. That is if they both win their opening round matches. 

Though 86kg reigning champion DAUREN KURUGLIEV (RUS) is not competing, returning medalists Aleksander GOSTIEV (AZE) and Istvan VEREB (HUN) return with hopes of improving their silver and bronze medals.

At 92kgit’s Olympic champions in Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) and Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) vying for top honors. The last time these two met was in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympic Games where Sadualev came out on top with an 8-1 victory. 

Sharifov, the 2012 Olympic champion followed up his London performance with a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games. 

A victory for Sadulaev, the two-time world champion, and Olympic gold medalist would give the hometown favorite his fourth European Championship.

Taha AKGUL (TUR) has his sights on winning his fifth European 125kg title; but the 2016 Olympic champions will most likely have to upend longtime rival and 2017 world champion, Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO).

Akgul and Petriashvili have accounted for every world or Olympic gold medal dating back to 2014, and every European title dating back to 2012. The pair’s 2017 world finals in Paris is considered the greatest freestyle heavyweight wrestling match in history.


Sadulaev Serves Russia Sixth Gold to Close out #KaspEuro2018 C'Ships

By Eric Olanowski

KASPIISK, Russia (May 6) – For the second day in a row, the Russian national anthem played a trio of times in Dagestan, Russia as the host nation closed out the 2018 European Championships with six of a possible ten gold medals.

The chants of “Rashid” poured through the Palace of Sport and Youth as Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) won the colossal match-up between Olympic champions, holding off Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE), 2-1 to win the 92kg European title. 

“My opponent was an Olympic champion. Not just a guy from the street...We train at the same gym, and we know each other’s style of wrestling. That’s why it was such a low scoring match.” 

Sadulaev's, lone takedown in the opening period proved to be the difference as “The Tank” snagged his fourth European championship.

At 61kg, Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS), the Kaspiisk native seized his second European championship by nearly shutting out Beka LOMTADZE (GEO), 4-1. 

“I only live 1km away from The Palace of Sport and Youth, so if I lost, I was heading home on foot.” 

Rashidov, the 2017 world finalist put the first point on the board after Lomtadze, the 2015 European Games runner-up was penalized for not scoring on the activity clock. The Russian followed that up with a takedown to end the opening period, leading 3-0. Rashidov, the two-time continental champion closed the match with step out to in the final period to win the match by three points. 

“I want to dedicate this win to my father. He sold everything he owned so I could wrestle, and he always supports me; whether I win or lose.”

Artur NAIFONOV (RUS), 86kg European champion. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne) 

Artur NAIFONOV (RUS), the 20-year-old Russian defeated Azerbaijani’s 31-year-old Aleksandr GOSTIYEV (AZE), 1-1 on critiera after trading activity clock points in the 86kg finals. 

“Growing up, Gostiyev was a role model for me, as we’re from the same Republic. I'm pleased to match the level of a wrestler who was once an example for me!”

Five-time European champion, Taha AKGUL (TUR). (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne) 

Turkish wrestlers Taha AKGUL (TUR) and Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) were the other two wrestlers who captured European golds. 

Akgul regained the 125kg top spot after avenging his loss from the 2017 World Championships to Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO), 2-1. 

The Olympic champion added a fifth European title to his resume with two one-point exchanges to knock off the Georgian. 

Demirtas capped off his quest for back-to-back European gold medals by also using two one-point exchanges to defeated Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA), 2-0. 

GOLD - Russia  (204 points)
SILVER - Azerbaijan (160 points)
BRONZE- Turkey (125 points)
Fourth - Georgia (110 points)
Fifth - Belarus (80 points)
Sixth - Poland (59 points)
Seventh - Ukraine (51 points)
Eighth - France (38 points)
Ninth - Germany(36 points)
Tenth - Italy (36 points)


GOLD - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Beka LOMTADZE (GEO), 4-1
BRONZE - Recep TOPAL (TUR) df. Niurhun SKRABIN (BLR), 6-6 
BRONZE - Ivan GUIDEA (ROU) df. Mirjalal HASAN ZADA (AZE), 3-1

GOLD -  Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) df. Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA), 2-0 
BRONZE - Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA) df.  Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK), 10-0
BRONZE - Andrei KARPACH (BLR) df. Zaur EFENDIEV (SRB), 10-0

GOLD - Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) df. Aleksandr GOSTIYEV (AZE), 1-1 
BRONZE - Sandro AMINASHVILI (GEO) df. Ahmed Ruslanovic DUDAROV (GER), 4-4 

GOLD - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE), 2-1 
BRONZE - Kyrylo MIESHKOV (UKR) vs. Irakli MTSITURI (GEO), 6-6 
BRONZE - Serdar BOKE (TUR) vs. Nicolai CEBAN (MDA), 6-4 

BRONZE - Jamaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE) vs. Muradin KUSHKHOV (RUS), 3-0 
BRONZE - Robert BARAN (POL) df. Johannes LUDESCHER (AUT), 6-1